Professor François Larocque has been awarded the prestigious Ordre de la Pléiade by the Ontario branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) for his contributions to the development of the French Language in Ontario.
Professor Larocque holds the Canadian Francophonie Research Chair in Language Rights. He has worked to defend the rights of Francophones in Ontario and the rest of Canada for over ten years. Using an innovative methodology that combines theory and practice, Professor Larocque advances research on the legal protection of communities of the lingusitic minority and their institutions. As a lawyer, he actively contributes to the development of Canadian case law on the interpretation and application of the legislative and constitutional standards underlying language rights. He has intervened at all levels of judicial courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, asserting the rights of groups and individuals of the linguistic minority.
For example, Professor Larocque’s research and activism have helped to elucidate the problems arising from the continuing unilingualism of the Canadian Constitution, and the obligation of Canada and the provinces, under section 55 of the Constitution Act of 1982, to have French versions of constitutional texts adopted “as soon as possible”. He has also taken part in the drafting committees responsible for modernizing and strengthening the linguistic protections of the French Language Services Act of Ontario, the City of Ottawa Act, 1999 and the Regulation on Bilingualism of the University of Ottawa.
Professor Larocque and his collaborators have also proposed a new analytical approach allowing courts to apply the principle of the best interests of children from linguistically exogamous couples in divorce, taking into account the intergenerational scope of the constitutional right to education in the language of the minority provided for in section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Professor Larocque and his team have also shed light on the status of French in professional regulations in Ontario by publishing innovative studies and organizing seminars on the issue. Finally, Professor Larocque’s research focuses on the law enforcement powers of the various language commissioners of Canada and the development of computer tools to boost linguistic complaint handling mechanisms.
Along with Professor Larocque, the following individuals will also be decorated with the Ordre de la Pléiade in 2020: Hélène Caron, Michèle Leblanc, Daniel Bédard, Linda Cardinal and Florence Ngenzebuhoro.
Established in Luxembourg in 1967, the APF is an association of 81 parliaments and interparliamentary organizations in Francophone countries across five continents. The organization seeks to represent Francophone interests, ensuring that they are effectively communicated to the leaders of nations with Francophone citizens. The APF aims to foster cooperation and strengthen solidarity within the Francophone community, while promoting democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The Ordre de la Pléiade, which was created in 1976, honours individuals who have distinguished themselves in service to these ideals.
Congratulations to Professor Larocque!